In an interview with Tom Brady (the football player and husband to supermodel Gisele Bundchen) in VMan magazine, designer Tom Ford revealed that he feels conflicted about the part he played in advancing a culture of materialism:
"[It] was pretty funny listening to Bruno Mars singing ‘You’re Amazing Just the Way You Are’ [at the Met Ball] when it was in front of a thousand people who are rich, beautiful, wearing a million dollars worth of jewelry, and dressed in $30,000 dresses that are only good this season because next season it’s all going to look out-of-date. That was quite funny because it’s this industry, of course, that makes people feel like they have to change. I have such a split personality about it. On the one hand I want to go off and live in the desert with my dog and sculpt things out of adobe, but then on the other I’m part of this industry that creates insecurity and focuses on materialism and things that aren’t actually, for me, the most important things in life. So it’s strange. […] I finally came to terms with it, because whether we like it or not, we do live in a material world."
I dare you to imagine the designer sitting stoically in a tux in front of an adobe hut, an Irish Wolfhound named Baxter growling affectionately by his side and not be charmed. Although Ford is candid about his own feelings of hypocrisy and insightful about the distorted values promoted by the image culture, it's worth remembering that not only has he benefitted personally from his success, he also played a star part in making fashion what it is today. Ford was one of the first designers to become a true celebrity; his work for the Gucci Group in the early 2000s created a model for the modern megabrand. Without him, the Met Gala might be a less glitzy spectacle, more niche industry event. If he doesn't like what fashion has become … well, it's too late to turn back the clock. But Ford's tremendous influence and wealth could still serve as a platform to do some real good in the world.
As one forum commenter, Phuel, put in a recent tFS thread discussing materialism in the fashion industry, "Be a generous individual and use some of your millions to help those that need it most. There are impoverished villages in China, India and South America and Eastern Europe which only need things like clean drinking water, roads and the very basics to make their lives better. Rather than set up shop and appeal to the Chinese and Russian nouveau riche (which is exactly what his designs target towards), how about contributing to the less fortunate of those countries?"
I would also recommend that Ford tear off all his clothes, grow a beard and join a radical militia of anti-capitalist revolutionaries.
Read the full interview: Dog Days Are Over [VMan]